Listeria

Listeriosis is a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. The disease primarily affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems. While it is rare, persons without these risk factors can also be affected.

What is Listeria?
Listeriosis is a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. The following groups are at increased risk:
  • Pregnant women
  • Adults 65 and older
  • People with weakened immune systems
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How is it spread?
By eating food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

What are the symptoms?
A person with listeriosis usually has fever and muscle aches, sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. Other symptoms include:
  • headache
  • stiff neck
  • confusion
  • loss of balance
  • convulsions
  • Pregnant women typically experience fever and other non-specific symptoms, such as fatigue and aches. Infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or life-threatening infection of the newborn
If you have symptoms, consult a physician. A diagnosis of listeriosis can only be confirmed by lab testing.

What is the treatment?
Listeriosis is treated with antibiotics as prescribed by a physician.

How can I protect myself?
  • Thoroughly cook all food, especially meats
  • Wash fruits and vegetables before eating
  • Do not eat or drink unpasteurized milk products
  • Pregnant women or people with weak immune systems should avoid soft style cheeses and deli meats